Marine Gen. Joe Dunford is transitioning back to the states where he will soon take over as the next Marine Corps Commandant. (Staff Sgt. Dustin Payne/Air Force)
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Gen. John Campbell assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in a Tuesday ceremony.
Campbell, previously the Army’s vice chief of staff, replaces Gen. Joe Dunford, who will transition stateside to serve as the next commandant of the Marine Corps.
In a letter to his troops downrange, Campbell praised Dunford’s work and stressed the change of command will not signify a change in strategy.
“The progress our coalition has made in the last 19 months, in the face of a determined enemy, is in many respects the result of his vision, energy and leadership,” Campbell said. “General Dunford clearly set the conditions for our continued success as we transition to the Resolute Support Mission early next year.”
This mission is focused on strengthening the Afghan security forces.
“We will cement the gains made to date and ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorism,” Campbell said in his letter.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked Campbell for taking on the job — marking the general’s third tour in Afghanistan.
“President Obama and I have the highest confidence in John, and we look forward to working closely with him in the months ahead,” Hagel said in a statement.
Hagel also thanked Dunford, calling him a “proud son of Boston.”
“As commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, President Obama and I have relied on Joe’s extraordinary ability and judgment as America responsibly transitions out of our longest war. We will continue to count on Joe’s distinguished leadership as he assumes his new role as 36th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.”